Battleships have traditionally been the flagships of a given nation's navy, originating from the Age of Sail's ships-of-the-line, to World War I's dreadnoughts, to modern day battleships sporting longer ranges, higher speeds, and advanced equipment. Incredibly expensive, with massive firepower and protection (and equally manpower-intensive), they were used as a projection of power and a major component of military and diplomatic strategy, creating arms races and being a focal point of naval treaties. However, their practical purpose was often questioned; their deployments were few and far between due to their costs and the low (depending on opinion) risk-return; they were vulnerable to smaller, cheaper vessels and weapons; limited by range and accuracy, naval artillery were being increasingly supplanted by aircraft in the long-range ordinance delivery role, arguably the actual role of the battleship. Sidelined into fire support roles and with the development of long-range missiles, battleships were slowly and completely phased out in favor of aircraft carriers.
Large, well-armored warships brandishing massive, main guns and numerous secondary and defensive AA batteries, battleships are the heaviest, and some of the most powerful ships in the game. They can rain fire upon enemies with impunity due to their long gun ranges, weather more fire than any other class, and their secondary batteries make short work of any smaller ships or aircraft that foolishly attempt to close the distance without the use of tactics. Unfortunately, slow rudder shift times, coupled with long turning times of the main battery turrets, render them unable to respond quickly to rapid changes in the battlefield; it is recommended for battleship commanders to think several steps ahead before taking any action, especially when facing the battleship's biggest weakness, the torpedo. Forget about subtlety; battleships can be seen from miles away, even without firing, but with a well-placed salvo, they can cripple any enemy they encounter, if not outright kill them. However, as shown in history and reflected accordingly in-game, lone or unescorted battleships are nothing but sitting ducks for enemies to pounce upon and overwhelm, especially by destroyers and aircraft carriers.
Starting off from Tier III, all battleships have access to the Repair Party (While active, restores a fixed percentage of a ship's hit points each second.) consumable, allowing them to repair some damage taken during battle and giving them unmatched survivability. As captains progress up the tiers, battleships gain access to additional abilities: Spotting Aircraft (While active, a spotter plane circles the ship providing enhanced main battery firing range.), which launches an unarmed spotter plane for the battleship, increasing the range of her already long-range main guns by 20% (at 32km, Yamato can basically fire on enemies across the entire map) and patrols in an area around the battleship, revealing nearby enemies that would have been otherwise hidden from sight; Catapult Fighter (While active, a fighter plane circles the ship providing additional protection from enemy aircraft by engaging incoming fighters and bombers.) launches fighter aircraft from the battleship's catapults that escorts the battleship and engages enemy aircraft that wander too close. Remember that these two abilities can be prematurely shut down by shooting down the aircraft; and German battleships have access to Hydroacoustic Search (While active, detects all enemy ships and torpedoes within the specified radius, regardless of obstacles (such as smoke screens or islands).) starting at Tier VIII, giving them greatly increased spotting range for incoming torpedoes. French battleships receive Engine Boost (While active, increases a ship's speed by a fixed percentage.) starting at Tier VIII, giving them a slight speed boost when it is used.